- You know, my generation of mystics had rules. We never would have stooped to the depths that you and Faust have. Zatara, Sargon and I may have had our differences, but we still respected each other. Well... let's get on with it then...
Appearing in "War for the Books of Magic, Part I"
- Nick Necro
- Felix Faust
- Dr. Mist (Flashback and main story)
- Blackbriar Thorn
- Black Boris, Cannibal King of the Fire Trolls
- John Zatara (Dies in flashback)
- Baron Winters (Flashback only)
- Sargon the Sorcerer (Flashback only)
- Mento (Flashback only)
- Doctor Occult (Flashback and main story) (Dies)
- Books of Magic (mentioned only)
Synopsis for "War for the Books of Magic, Part I"
Doctor Mist is Nommo Balewa, a real doctor, who used to work in Northern Uganda, fighting to make a difference. However, when civil war struck, his beloved wife was killed. He gave up his profession and immersed himself in tribal mysticism, looking for any way to bring his wife Mosa back. Nothing he could do would change what had happened. When Felix Faust came to him with a way to master death through the Books of Magic, Doctor Mist had used his reputation to infiltrate A.R.G.U.S.' Black Room, and betray his allies. Despite the occultists' and magicians' efforts, Mist and Faust escape with the map to the Books.
Having been sent to the Deadlands by Faust, Deadman returns, greatly drained of his strength. Despite having lost the map, John Constantine did get a chance to look at it briefly, before it was stolen. The map pointed to Slaughter Swamp in Gotham City. Strangely, according to Zatanna's scrying, Faust and Mist have returned to Peru instead, which begs the question why they have not decided to go after the books immediately. The team decides to split in two to see both what lies in Slaughter Swamp, and what Faust is up to in Peru. Constantine and Black Orchid decide to check out Slaughter Swamp while Zatanna and Deadman seek out Faust.
Elsewhere, Madame Xanadu questions Timothy Hunter about how he could have come to give up all of his magic completely. The boy explains that when he discovered how much trouble magic was causing him, he gave all of his power form, and the exorcised it from himself, and he was done with magic forever. Sadly, Xanadu tries to push the apocalyptic vision of the future from her mind, but finds herself blind and helpless.
In his temple in Peru, Faust and Mist meet with a mysterious man who has conspired with them to get the Books of Magic. While Mist wants the Book of Death, Faust wants the Book of Chaos. Their conspirator wants the other two books for himself. Faust reveals that he tricked Constantine with a false vision - that the books do not lie in Slaughter Swamp. Opening the map, they discover that the books are actually at Nanda Parbat - a place which has always held a great power.
Meanwhile, Constantine and Black Orchid use the House of Mystery to travel through Limbo to Gotham. John tries to get some information out of her about who and what she is, but she will not say. She changes the subject to his past relationship with Zatanna. John admits that while they have a past, any potential they might have had was marred by the fact that he killed her father.
Years ago, John had gathered together a group of occultists and magicians to help save the world from a Great Darkness. Unfortunately, in the process, Zatanna's father John Zatara was burned alive before their eyes, and there was nothing any of them could do to help him, because breaking their circle would end their connection to the other side. John explains that women who get close to him tend to end up hurt. Their conversation ends abruptly when the House arrives in Slaughter Swamp.
Stepping outside, they are surprised to find themselves under attack by Black Boris, the cannibal king of the Fire Trolls. Meanwhile, in Peru, Zatanna and Deadman are similarly attacked by the wizard of the wood, Blackbriar Thorn.
At the House of Secrets, the mysterious co-conspirator of Faust and Mist knocks on the door, and is greeted by its keeper, Doctor Occult. The Doctor recognizes his visitor, and expresses his distaste for his methods, in comparison to those of the older occultists like himself and John Zatara. Sighing, he allows himself to be murdered, in order to let the fate of the House of Secrets be passed on.
- The events surrounding John Zatara's death occurred in Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #50
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